I’ve spoken at nearly all the legal technology conferences that have come and gone over the last thirty years. Some, like LegalWorks and LegalTech West, are extinct (suggesting there is no appetite for legal technology west of Las Vegas). Others, like ABA TechShow and LegalTech New York soldier on, shadows of what they once were, annually rearranging well-worn deck chairs. They’re still frantic and fun to attend but TechShow has devolved to a mostly regional attendance and LegalTech’s influence has waned such that the most interesting meetings occur outside the Hilton. Lately, the dynamic and influential meetups are those dedicated to a single product and its ecosystem (think Relativity Fest or ClioCon). A stalwart exception, and an event I always try to cover, is ILTACON, the annual confab of the International Legal Technology Association. ILTACON remains vibrant and relevant, having found its compass after several rocky years of internal squabbling.
I just returned from Orlando and five days of impressive ILTACON content at the Swan and Dolphin hotels near EPCOT. I talked about discovery tools and whether they’ve kept pace with the sea changes in electronic evidence. My take: lawyers are behind the curve and tool vendors aren’t doing nearly enough to bridge the gap.
I’m a passionate student of architecture, with no particular skills, but boundless enthusiasm. Thus, it was pleasing to experience the Swan and Dolphin Hotels, icons of post-modernism and two of the late architect Michael Graves’ most successful efforts. Postmodernism was to last-century architecture what the leisure suit was to 1970’s fashion. PoMo is no mo’, and none need mourn its passing. Audacious in 1990, the Swan and Dolphin remain a good fit for the fever dream of Walt Disney World. Outside of Orlando and Las Vegas, the absurd scale, palette and garish embellishment would have long lost its luster; yet in the House of the Mouse (and dead-flat Orlando), they still work. Aesthetically, that is, not functionally. The interiors are awful and the sprawl exhausting. Home to ILTACON’s evening events, the dark, charmless Pacific Ballroom, should be renamed the Hangar of Terror (photo below. Note the free throw competition hoop and backboard with tables beyond. What could POSSIBLY go wrong?).